The 2017 edition of WYCE’s Jammie Awards drew 1,500-plus to The Intersection in Grand Rapids for dynamic performances by Michigan acts, with musicians “lovin’ the hell out of each other.” (Photos, video)
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A night to remember doesn’t begin to describe the 2017 Jammie Awards show hosted by WYCE-FM at The Intersection on Friday.
For one thing, there were the buoyant, spellbinding on-stage collaborations:
• Rick Chyme, Mike G., A.B., Yolonda Lavender and more joining The Great Ones on stage for a late-night, crowd-pumping set, including a rousing rendition of “Do It for the Love.”
• The Accidentals joining singer-songwriter Ralston Bowles for “The Jammies Song” early in the evening, and then Bowles returning the favor at the end of the night to induce an audience sing-along during the Traverse City trio’s “Michigan and Again,” which won song of the year honors.
• Earthwork Music founder Seth Bernard leading an all-star super-group that boasted members from The Crane Wives, Big Dudee Roo and more for a joyous after-party on The Stache stage, complete with a rousing extended rendition of “Turkeys in the Rain.”
Then there were the stirring award presentation moments, from longtime volunteer and on-air personality Oscar Zuniga getting inducted into the “Programmer Hall of Fame” while sitting just off-stage surrounded by loved ones to The Accidentals being awarded the night’s “Big Jammie.”
“We are incredibly humbled,” Savannah Buist said of winning both album and song of the year honors. “There were so many amazing bands that played tonight and it felt like a huge love fest – like a huge musical family reunion. To be part of it has been incredible and we’re so lucky to call Michigan our home.”
VIDEO: Jammie Awards 2017 Highlights
With more than 1,500 people attending, the 18th annual Jammie Awards show had fans lining up outside The Intersection before doors even opened, with early attendees getting a chance to see the avant garde musical art of Grand Rapids’ Emma Loo, who kicked off (and hosted) performances on The Stache stage. She also who won the night’s first prizes: listeners’ choice album of the year and best album by a new artist.
After the win, two little girls hugged and congratulated the gracious Jammie winner, who chatted excitedly with the kids for some time.
“I was balling my eyes out after I got off stage,” she said after saying a warm goodbye to her young fans. “Every once in a while, I still get choked up. I can’t believe it. Just walking in here, I had said, if any of the other bands win it, I would be fine. It’s still overwhelming – everyone here coming out to this great event, and just lovin’ the hell out of each other.”
Indeed. Cowpie Music Festival founder John “Farmer John” Crissman has attended every Jammie Awards show and appreciates how the event brings the Grand Rapids music scene together.
“The showcase [of performers] is unbelievable,” Crissman said. “The event has grown along with the talent we have here in West Michigan. You can look around and just see how many happy people we’ve got here.”
Newcomers to the event – which drew throngs of musicians cheering on their musical cohorts – were impressed, too.
“I’ve always wanted to come to the Jammies. It’s so much fun and it’s a great chance to people watch,” said Denise Kreske, of Grand Rapids, who’s been listener of WYCE-FM (88.1) for more than 20 years. “I love WYCE: They play great music … and lots of different music. I like the variety, and they keep changing things for the better.”
Of course, with 25 acts playing two stages over six hours, there were countless performance highlights in addition to those mentioned above:
• Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish – If one could point to an inciting incident that transitioned the evening from feeling like an award show to feeling like a full-blown concert, it was the moment Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish took the stage. The duo’s stripped-down and aggressive rock ‘n’ roll was met with screaming and dancing by an increasingly lively crowd. With music touching on blues and rockabilly, the duo projected a vitality reminiscent of punk rock. Some two-piece bands have problems achieving a full sound with only guitar and drums. Not Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish, who shared honors for best roots/revival album with The Bootstrap Boys.
• The Great Ones – Grand Rapids rappers JRob and Lady Ace Boogie had fists pounding and heads bobbing almost instantly. JRob’s lively flow contrasted artfully with Lady Ace Boogie’s infectious vocal tone. Live drums added a raw groove to the mix while DJ Dean Martian skillfully weaved turntable scratch solos into several hooks and verses. The catchy hooks would have been plenty, but an overall sense of community shared by The Great Ones and its pajama-clad audience solidified the performance as a standout.
• Dante Cope – Dante Cope put on a lively, audience-pleasing set, accompanied by an ensemble of jazz instruments ranging from saxophone to keyboard and cello. The singer and saxophonist expertly blended spoken hip-hop lyrics with cutting-edge jazz – an enchanting and singularly pleasing approach. Not surprisingly, Cope’s album, “Jasmine in the Brave New World,” earned honors for best jazz album.
• Alexander Lynch – Once again this Grand Rapids electro-soul singer proved his mettle as an uber-passionate, crowd-stirring performer, even while playing just a short set on The Stache stage. Lynch drew roars of approval from fans packing the front lounge, and many of them likely will head back to see him tonight when he plays a full show at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids.
Check out a colorful photo gallery of the Jammie Awards show below. And check out even more Local Spins Jammies coverage and photos online here.
PHOTO GALLERY: 2017 Jammie Awards at The Intersection (Feb. 10, 2017)
Photos by Anna Sink, Kendra Kamp and Derek Ketchum
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